Shetland Islands Council’s environmental health service is again reminding the public to site Guy Fawkes bonfires carefully and not use them to dispose of domestic or commercial waste.
Team leader Patti Dinsdale said although the prospect of a blazing bonfire was appealing, anyone setting one up needed to think carefully about its location and avoid burning dangerous or unsuitable items which may be hazardous to the environment and possibly also to spectators.
Council staff had been inspecting bonfires to make sure that fly tipping is not taking place. Most of the bonfires checked just contain wood, cardboard and paper but there were a small number of unsafe bonfires containing potentially harmful items such as old sofas and mattresses.
Ms Dinsdale said: “We want people to be safe on bonfire night, and look after the environment too. We would expect bonfires to only include cardboard and clean wood, with as few nails as possible.
“Items like tyres, furnishings, mattresses and plastics are unsuitable for an open bonfire, and adding these to bonfires is considered to be fly tipping. There are proper means of disposing of waste, either domestic or commercial, and simply burning it is unacceptable.
“Some things put on bonfires are extremely hazardous when burned, such as foams in old furniture and carbon fibre in car and bike parts. They contain fumes which can harm your health when breathed in.
“Compressed gas canisters such as aerosols could also explode, which is obviously dangerous to spectators. We will consider enforcement action where unsuitable items are included on bonfires.”
The council’s advice is:
• Consider the possible effect of wind, and site bonfires away from homes and buildings;
• Burn only clean wood or cardboard – don’t add unsuitable items to your bonfire;
• Clean up any debris left after the fire has cooled;
• Don’t site bonfires on grazing land.
The council has a bulky uplift service where larger items of waste can be collected by arrangement by calling (01595) 744809. Domestic and commercial waste can also be delivered to the Gremista Waste Management base in Lerwick.